Independently opened by a group of friends in 2005, Bedford & Strand is a bar, wine room and bistro serving traditional British and French dishes; rated by top-critic Fay Maschler amongst her annual Top-20 Openings of the Year, it’s been perennially busy since.

Customers can enjoy a broad, carefully selected wine-list with twenty or so wines available by the glass, carafe and bottle, as well as beer, cider, cocktails, pudding wines, port or just coffee.

The deli-counter and kitchen serve charcuterie boards, artisan cheese, meats, patés and other dishes to share at any time plus a full a-la carte menu for lunch and dinner using the best well sourced ingredients.

A welcome oasis for drinkers and diners amid the tourist blandness and post-work lager barns. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere buzzy. THE GUARDIAN

Basement bistro/wine bar with simple décor and easy-going atmosphere; kitchen sources well and has a light touch with Italian, French and British dishes. MICHELIN

There really need to be more bistros like this in London. A den of fine wines, cheese and charcuterie. The bar and NYC feel make this a cosy haunt. URBAN JUNKIES

With a name that’s a neat play on its location (the corner of Bedford Street and the Strand), this basement restaurant has a modern Dickensian feel – workhouse meets wine bar. It was started by five chaps who liked straightforward British food and good wine but couldn’t find much in Covent Garden. The food is delicious and smartly done, but not too smartly. Service is efficient and unaffected. The vin is tremendous, the house wines are labelled ‘good’, ‘honest’ and ‘decent’ on an uncluttered list with superb tasting notes. TATLER

Located away from tourists & theatre-goers, this basement bistro- wine bar is a favourite with the after-work crowd. White-paper tablecloths & bentwood chairs – a ‘simple but effective’ formula that’s matched by fast, on-the-ball service. Wine: One of London’s best small lists, with a choice of producer that is always spot-on. Massive range by the glass...bargain pricing at the top end adds to the attraction.

The wine bar is enjoying something of a renaissance in London, and this is one of the best of a new generation. It's sunk atmospherically down below the streets of Covent Garden, with dark wood and hanging shades; the wine list is short but well chosen, the service is faultless, and the bistro food is created with plenty of care. FODORS